Textiles: Presentation for assessment
Presenting work for assessment is a difficult task in a bricks-and-mortar university but studying distance learning courses provides the additional constraint of ensuring the work can be posted safely, and be easily understood when it is received. Rebecca Fairley wrote a great blog post in October about what assessors are looking for at assessment, which is a must-read prior to assessment. The essence is to present work simply and ensure it is well organised and clearly labelled. In this blog post I wanted to provide an additional example of a well-presented submission from the November assessment event.
This is a submission for the Mixed Media for Textiles course, which involves a lot of 3D exploration. The work was very well organised, with each part labelled clearly and arranged in separate folders, so Kathy at Head Office could easily unpack and arrange the work in order for assessors.
Each part of the course was presented using the same method: drawings and photos in wallets, with samples in files and boxes. Lots of A4 and A3 drawings had been developed throughout the course and these were simply presented in wallets made from folded tracing paper. Notes on the reverse of the drawings identified the exercise number and they were ordered chronologically. Both the tracing paper and the notes on the reverse meant the presentation was visually very discrete, so the drawings held centre stage.
Two-dimensional samples and those with a lower surface relief were presented on A4 paper in pairs or small collections. These were then placed in a plastic clip file, one per part of the course. (The plastic file protected the samples from damage in the post but a folder would suffice for work that isn’t fragile.) The paper was generally light printer paper onto which the samples were stitched or stuck down. A note of the exercise number, sometimes with a note about material or process, was made next to the sample. This simple presentation meant the samples were easy for assessors to go through; the logic of the development was clear and any collections of samples were grouped together, either on one sheet or on a series of sheets.
Additional samples were grouped in shoe-box sized plastic boxes, divided by layers of white tissue paper. Assessors went through these boxes to explore the small samples, laying them out on the table next to the submission. Larger, more 3D samples were submitted in individual boxes with a bit of tissue paper to keep them safe while they were in transit.
The Mixed Media for Textiles course involves lots of three-dimensional manipulation of materials, which creates a large volume, and the use of hard materials, like plaster, which creates a lot of weight. This student didn’t send all her samples for assessment, as many were too heavy or too fragile to post. Instead, she photographed the samples beautifully against a white background with good lighting. She printed these and submitted them alongside the practical work. Whilst these photos were also present on her blog, by submitting physical photos along with the samples, she enabled assessors to review all the sampling as a collection, and to consider the relationship between individual pieces. Photography is always a really important communication method at assessment: it enables you to show assessors how you want a piece to be viewed and what details you value most. It becomes even more important if you aren’t sending samples to the assessment event. These photos were printed simply on A4 paper rather than being printed professionally but they communicated the samples clearly yet simply.
The use of clear plastic, white paper and tracing paper meant that there was limited “visual noise” within the presentation. None of the packaging materials imposed their own personality on the work (whether through colour or pattern), so they didn’t detract from the work itself. Overall, the presentation of this submission was strong because it drew the work together without overshadowing the work itself. The method and materials were visually discrete, the work was well organised, and each part was presented using the same method. As Rebecca said in her blog post, the way you present your work is up to: “it should reflect your aesthetic sensibilities but it must never detract from the work itself.”